Westward Independent

Socialism vs. Solutions: Councillor Istace’s Controversial Vision for North Cowichan

by Joseph Enslow

Misguided Governance: A Detriment to North Cowichan’s Future

In a recent council meeting, Councillor Chris Istace presented an argument that could only be described as a masterclass in bureaucratic double-speak, laced with a generous helping of utopian fantasy. “Thank you, Your Worship,” Istace began, “I’d like to follow up quickly on Councilor Findlay’s question.” He then launched into a sermon about a multimillion-dollar application with the federal government, aimed at covering all costs for the south end of Bell McKinnon. This, according to Istace, would solve all our housing woes, because, in his world, government knows best.

Istace boasted about targeting 2700 homes through the federal government’s housing accelerator fund, conveniently glossing over the fact that this plan is a drop in the ocean, aiming to meet just 50% of the area’s target. He warned against “approving new subdivisions not within our staff’s recommendations,” citing the long buildout times of past projects as cautionary tales. But here’s where Istace’s logic takes a detour from reality. He argues that “relying solely on new developments for affordability spreads liabilities and operational costs,” advocating instead for investing in existing infrastructure.

Let’s dissect this, shall we? Istace would have us believe that private development, the engine driving most successful communities worldwide, is now our enemy. According to him, throwing money at aging infrastructure magically creates housing and jobs. But here’s a thought: What if, and bear with me, we didn’t put all our eggs in the government’s notoriously leaky basket?

Istace’s reverence for “collaborative efforts with BC Housing” and the mythical benefits of speculation taxes and short-term rental regulations reads like a socialist fairy tale. In Istace’s utopia, government intervention miraculously makes housing affordable, ignoring the basic economic principle of supply and demand. The reality, starkly different from Istace’s fantasy, is that new developments like West Vista Terrace offer tangible solutions to our housing crisis, promising over 800 homes and significant job creation, not to mention a whopping $60 million in tax revenue.

But perhaps the most bewildering aspect of Istace’s narrative is his call for “prudent financial management,” a term that, coming from him, is as believable as a unicorn sighting. Prudence, in Istace’s lexicon, apparently means overlooking the immediate benefits of development in favour of a strategy that has kept our infrastructure backlog in a perpetual state of catch-up.

In wrapping up his oration, Istace graciously offered to “hear from other council members before continuing,” a small mercy for anyone hoping for a glimpse of pragmatism in our council’s approach to growth and development.

Let’s not mince words: Istace’s vision for North Cowichan is a recipe for stagnation, wrapped in the guise of progress. It’s time for our community to embrace the opportunities that developments like West Vista Terrace represent. We need solutions rooted in the real world, not in the wishful thinking of a council member who seems more interested in ideological purity than in practical results.

As Istace muses over the speculative benefits of his approach, let us remind him that our community deserves better. We deserve policies that encourage growth, support development, and recognize the value of private initiative in solving our most pressing challenges. It’s high time we rejected the misguided governance Istace advocates and rallied behind approaches that truly serve the best interests of North Cowichan and its residents.

You may also like


John Lichtenwald March 7, 2024 - 9:01 pm

We read in Cowichan Valley Citizen during the Local Election of 2022 that you would like to “facilitate building of housing immediately and treat it with the urgency it deserves. Remove exclusionary zoning and empower staff to approve new builds quickly and efficiently for developers and residents”.

John Lichtenwald March 7, 2024 - 9:04 pm

Copy of letter we sent to Chris Istace Dec 18, 2023 to Councillor Chris Istace. There was $60 million of Tax Revenue and Jobs for the indigenous and Chris never once would meet with us so we could show him our plan and get his opinion. Something is wrong! This isn’t how our housing crisis gets fixed.

My wife Elaine and I are reaching out to you to get your input on our West Vista Terrace Development located at Herd Rd and Bell McKinnon. As you may know we had a rezoning application into North Cowichan two years before the OCP was changed (and Covid hit). We believe that this plan is a comprehensive and timely one that will alleviate some of the critically required housing near the new hospital. We currently have an OCP Amendment into North Cowichan planning department that application will go before council early in the new year. We were told by staff that it will be presented to council at the Jan or Feb council meeting and would like an opportunity to meet with you to discuss prior to that.

We would like to meet you in person over coffee any afternoon this coming week at a place convenient to you. We know the Christmas Season is busy so we can come to Chemainus if that works better for you.

We read in Cowichan Valley Citizen during the Local Election of 2022 that you would like to “facilitate building of housing immediately and treat it with the urgency it deserves. Remove exclusionary zoning and empower staff to approve new builds quickly and efficiently for developers and residents”.

We look forward to hearing your views and plans for the future of our community.

I have attached our Master Plan and our OCP Amendment for your perusal in the meantime.

We recently met with several councillors and we look forward to meeting you as well.

John and Elaine Lichtenwald

John Lichtenwald March 7, 2024 - 9:15 pm

This is Chris Istace quote is right off his Blog on Sept 21, 2022.

Why I am running for North Cowichan Council

– Improving the working relationship with local Cowichan First Nations in all matters that affect their communities by including engagement and consultation as a core principle. This includes being mindful and respectful of the historical and cultural significance of many places that have been developed or are considered for development.

John Lichtenwald March 7, 2024 - 9:18 pm

Why I am running for North Cowichan Council blog from Chris Istace.



Leave a Comment

As a dedicated grassroots newspaper, we unearth exclusive valley stories and events that remain hidden elsewhere. With passion and fearlessness, we expose what happens behind closed doors, giving you a sneak peek into the heart of our community. Experience the pulse of our valley like never before. Welcome to a newspaper that punches above its weight, where local voices come alive with every turn of the page.

©2024 All rights reserved. Designed and Developed by WWIND.